Solid-state laser systems, such as traditional Nd:YAG-based lasers, are commonly used for noninvasive biomedical photoacoustics with nanosecond pulse duration and millijoule pulse energy. However, such lasers are both bulky and expensive for use as a handy tool for clinical applications. As an alternative, a semiconductor light source has the advantages of being compact, inexpensive, and robust. In addition, the main drawback of low peak output power may make it exactly suitable for the imaging modalities, which require relatively low pulse energies, such as acoustic- and optical-resolution photoacoustic microscopy (AR/OR-PAM). We propose a cost-efficient OR-PAM for two-dimensional/three-dimensional (2-D/3-D) biological imaging based on a pulsed near-infrared laser diode. By raster scanning, typical 2-D photoacoustic images were obtained at different scales, and 3-D surface renderings were clearly reconstructed with a marching cubes algorithm. This initial study would promote the production of portable OR-PAM technology for clinical and biomedical applications.